Japanese posters for Akira Kurosawa’s Ran.

06 / 29 / 2014 958   originally from kurosawa-akira   via kurosawa-akira

"I think that in order to find reality, each must search for his own universe, look for the details that contribute to this reality that one feels under the surface of things. To be an artist means to search, to find and look at these realities. To be an artist means never to look away."

Akira Kurosawa
March 23, 1910 — September 6, 1998

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Each holiday season, friends of Akira Kurosawa would look forward to receiving his Christmas card, which would feature a festive painting by the man himself.

12 / 25 / 2013 544   originally from kurosawa-akira   via kurosawa-akira

When filmmakers meet…

kurosawa-akira:

What kind of influence does the Noh play have in Throne of Blood?

Akira Kurosawa: Drama in the West takes its character from the psychology of men or circumstances; the Noh is different. First of all, the Noh has the mask, and while staring at it, the actor becomes the man whom the mask represents. The performance also has a defined style, and in devoting himself to it faithfully, the actor becomes possessed. Therefore, I showed each of the players a photograph of the mask of the Noh which came closest to the respective role; I told him that the mask was his own part. To Toshiro Mifune, who played the part of Taketoki Washizu (Macbeth), I showed the mask named Heida. This was the mask of a warrior. In the scene in which Mifune is persuaded by his wife to kill his lord, he created for me just the same life-like expression as the mask did. To Isuzu Yamada, who acted the role of Asaji (Lady Macbeth), I showed the mask named Shakumi. This was the mask of a beauty no longer young, and represented the image of a woman about to go mad. The actress who wears this mask, when she gets angry, changes her mask for one the eyes of which are golden-colored. This mask represents the state of an unearthly feeling of tension and Lady Macbeth assumes the same state. For the warrior who was murdered by Macbeth and later reappears as an apparition, I considered the mask of the apparition of a nobleman of the name of Chujo. The witch in the wood was represented by the mask named Yamanba.

[ Interview with Akira Kurosawa | Joan Mellen, 1975 ]

08 / 13 / 2013 3218   originally from kurosawa-akira   via kurosawa-akira

Filmmakers as children: Luis Buñuel, Ingmar Bergman, Yasujiro Ozu, Satyajit Ray, Akira Kurosawa, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Jacques Tati, Andrei Tarkovsky, and Stanley Kubrick.

Akira Kurosawa: There’s something to be said for black and white, and I harbor the hope of returning to it some day. A black and white film has a special quality. It’s difficult to describe, but that quality is still very much alive for me today. — 1991

Andrei Tarkovsky: I love black and white cinema; I feel as if I discovered it. Audiences are supposed to prefer color films, but I believe that color is much less realistic than black and white. We don’t normally notice color, except in the cinema where it’s somehow exaggerated. So the most ‘real’ images on film are in monochrome… For me, black and white has an unforgettable and highly expressive quality, and I will continue to make films that include a lot of black and white. — 1981

David Lynch: Black and white does have the ability to take you into a world that’s different, be it in the past as in The Elephant Man or in a parallel world as in Eraserhead. Sometimes with color it’s just too real and can’t take you there so easily and it makes things more pure. You can see eyes and ears in a totally different way, so you really see them. You see shadows and contrasts and shapes because those are the things you end up working with. You don’t see such a real picture which you glance over without a second thought. In black and white you really start to see things. It seems to make things in a way more powerful—it’s removing you from reality. — 1985

Béla Tarr: I love black and white. When you see a black-and-white picture, you know immediately it is not a realistic picture. It is not reality ‘one to one,’ because something is somehow transformed. On the other hand, I can hide a lot of things in the blackness, and I can picture white light for something which is important. I can use the whole gray scale. — 2012

Ingmar Bergman: In black and white, you have that wonderful chance to create, and have the audience to create together with you… I would like most of all if it would be possible to work in black and white, because I think black and white is the most beautiful color that exists for our minds, for our creative minds. We are involved in the creative process when we are looking at a black and white picture. — 1981

That 1963 disappearance was a scandal. She had been the most beloved of film stars, her handsome face, accepting smile, known to all. And then, suddenly, rudely, without a word of apology, she was going to disappear—to retire.

Here, where the stars hang on, voluntary retirement is unknown, particularly for one the caliber of Setsuko Hara. She had become an ideal: men wanted to marry someone like her; women wanted to be someone like her.

This was because on the screen she reconciled her life as real people cannot. Whatever her role in films—daughter, wife, or mother—she played a woman who at the same time, somehow, was herself. Her social roles did not eclipse that individual self, our Setsuko.

— Donald Richie, Japanese Portraits

Setsuko Hara
Born June 17, 1920

Filmmakers photographed by Xavier Lambours.

kurosawa-akira:

Once into production, work on Ran progressed so smoothly that even Mr. Kurosawa was surprised. In the summer of 1984, just when he was preparing to shoot the great storm scene in which Hidetora (his Lear) rushes deranged into the wilderness, a typhoon struck the shooting location in Kyushu perfectly on schedule. Later Mr. Kurosawa joked, “In Japan, journalists often call me ‘Emperor’ because they think I’m so tyrannical. Well, I guess I can now command even the elements!”
[ Kurosawa Directs a Cinematic Lear | Peter Grilli — 1985 ]

kurosawa-akira:

Once into production, work on Ran progressed so smoothly that even Mr. Kurosawa was surprised. In the summer of 1984, just when he was preparing to shoot the great storm scene in which Hidetora (his Lear) rushes deranged into the wilderness, a typhoon struck the shooting location in Kyushu perfectly on schedule. Later Mr. Kurosawa joked, “In Japan, journalists often call me ‘Emperor’ because they think I’m so tyrannical. Well, I guess I can now command even the elements!”

[ Kurosawa Directs a Cinematic Lear | Peter Grilli — 1985 ]

05 / 01 / 2013 804   originally from kurosawa-akira   via kurosawa-akira